[re-release] Becoming Anti-Fragile w/Mike T Nelson PhD

I have a number of amazing episodes coming up (mental strength, CBD, avoiding glycation/AGEs, PEMF and more) but I haven’t been able to get any of them ready. It’s been too long since I published anything so I thought I’d share an great one from last year done with one of my favorite people, Dr Mike T Nelson. Enjoy!

Mike T Nelson, PhD

Dr Mike is a well known expert on Metabolic Flexibility, and I have had him on Wise Athletes twice out of pure admiration for his amazing body of work. On episode #68, Glen and I spoke with Dr. Mike T Nelson about building anti-fragility across a range of physical and mental functions. If you missed this one or the 2021 episode on Metabolic Flexibility, be sure to listen in. If you already heard it, you wouldn’t be wasting your time to check out Dr Mike’s advice again.

Episode 32:


Creator of the Flex Diet Certification & Phys Flex Certification, kiteboarder, lifter of odd objects, metal music lover.  


Dr. Mike’s Website

Dr. Mike’s Instagram drmiketnelson

Physiological Flexibility 

The 4 main regulators pH, temp, blood gas oxygen and CO2, and blood glucose. 
The 8 interventions (2 for each) are:

  • Hot -such as warm temps outside or sauna
  • Cold – cold water immersion, cooler temps, cold showers
  • HIIT -high intensity exercise as Wingates (aka Beast Mode)
  • LISS – as Dr Mike’s buddy Luke from Muscle Nerds calls it “Least Mode” aka lower intensity exercise
  • Low blood glucose – via fasting protocols
  • High(er) blood glucose challenge – 2 pop tart test
  • Slow breathing techniques and breath holds
  • Fast (supra ventilation) techniques like Wim Hoff and others


Met Flex = Flexible Diet + metabolic flexibility. 

The focus is Body composition and athletic performance, which are intertwined.  Body composition is good for health, self esteem and performance. Athletic performance is good for (1) health (body is built to move), (2) longevity (3 factors) and (3) body composition (burning calories 
Key Principals:

  1. Speed of adaptation reflects health status and resilience:  fuel switching speed, sugar tolerance, temperature tolerance,  HR capacity (max vs. resting), endurance, mobility and strength provides headroom to recover from problems.
  2. Benefit stacking:  getting multiple benefits from our actions and food
  3. Health maintenance is the real goal.  Achieving goals is nice, but sustaining fitness and health is the real achievement.   The key is fuel matching and non-linear calorie imbalance. (Practice maintenance)
  4. No suffering; stay within yourself but push a little most days. 
  5. “Better is better”.  Optimal is elusive but will slowly be achieved for each person 
  6. Little things add up.   Start with easy to gain momentum and motivation for harder change.
  7. Exercise doesn’t have to dominate your life; you just need to do enough of cardio/ endurance and HIIT/ strength work. 
  8. More variability = better resilience
  9. Consistency of effort (we are forming new habits, need time to obtain positive feedback)
  10. Progressive overload (change is painful, but only a little and only some of the time, if done right)
  11. Modulated workload (for recovery, adaptation, mental health, and practice for maintenance mode)

Inflexible people have a insulin resistance, have lots of insulin to deal with sugar, makes it hard to burn fat.  Issue in losing fat and using fat for endurance intensity exercise. 

8 interventions for nutrition and recovery. Help people: higher metabolic flux, fast switching between fat and carb burning.   Getting stronger and getting control over body composition. 
Help people understand nutrition, and factors involved in body composition and performance. Not treating medical conditions. 

Started with Dr David Kelly(Brooks and mercier) Coined “Cross over effect” 

Leverage: Focus on high impact (make a big difference in physiology), easy to do (clients will do it) interventions: physiology & psychology. Actually have clients rank interventions according to what they will do.  Progressive disclosure

The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.